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Government Executive Editor in Chief Tom Shoop, along with other editors and staff correspondents, look at the federal bureaucracy from the outside in.

Should DHS Move to Des Moines?

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The Des Moines skyline. The Des Moines skyline.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, proposed an interesting idea Monday. As Eric Katz reported, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman plans to push for a resolution expressing the “sense of the House” that federal agencies should seek more opportunities to move their offices and employees outside of Washington.

Specifically, Chaffetz said, the Homeland Security Department could relocate to Des Moines, Iowa, and save the government a significant amount of money. We’re not sure how Chaffetz calculates the savings—DHS employees need to work closely with other Washington-based agencies and flights between Des Moines and D.C. could add up quickly, plus there’s that $10.2 billion new headquarters campus.

Nonetheless, the idea has us thinking outside the National Capital Region. Why not move more agencies out of the overcrowded, overpriced region? Do Agriculture and Interior need to be headquartered in Washington? Health and Human Services? There must be more than one National Park Service headquarters employee who’d happily trade the commute on Interstate 95 for one less enervating. For the most part, agency missions are not geographically bound. Why should their headquarters be?

Tell us what federal agency you’d move out of Washington, where you’d move it and why. We’ll publish the results soon.

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